Communication cues can help us better engage with people by helping us to be more aware of our body language, facial expressions, and even tone of voice to convey meaning in conversations. In this post, I will outline the seven most important communication cues that can help us to connect better with our work colleagues and foster meaningful conversations.
What are communication cues and why are they important in building relationships?
Communication cues are small nonverbal messages that we use to convey meaning in our communication with others. They can include subtle body language, facial expressions, hand motions, and tone of voice and pitch. Understanding these communication cues is important for improving engagement and connection in the workplace because they help us convey our emotional state and feelings to the other person without having to use words. For example, when someone is feeling scared or anxious, a raised brow or widened eyes could be indicative of fear.
These communication cues allow us to better understand how the other person is feeling and respond accordingly. They also help build trust between two people by showing that we are paying attention to each other’s emotions. This creates a bond of mutual understanding and respect which is essential for healthy relationships.
To make sure communication cues are used effectively, it’s important to stay mindful in conversations and pay attention to the other person’s signals.
The seven essential communication cues that can help us to better engage with people and build strong relationships are:
#1 Communication Cue: Eye Contact
Making eye contact is vital in communication as it conveys a sense of attentiveness, trust, and connection with the other person. It helps show that you’re actively listening and paying attention to what they’re saying. Plus, prolonged eye contact can make someone feel valued, appreciated, and respected.
#2 Communication Cue: Facial Expressions
Facial expressions such as smiling or frowning are powerful communication tools for expressing our feelings without speaking a single word. Smiling shows happiness while frowning can be an indication of displeasure or worry.
Don’t forget the power of your smile
The power of a smile cannot be underestimated. A genuine smile can work wonders in communication, helping to bridge gaps and bring people together. Smiling not only conveys happiness, but it can also make someone feel more connected and at ease around you. Studies have shown that smiling can reduce stress levels and help build stronger relationships over time.
A simple tip I share for improved networking is to shape your mouth like you are saying the letter “e” and without saying it, you look more approachable as it appears as a small smile.
#3 Communication Cue: Body Language
Our body language also speaks volumes about our emotional state when communicating with others. Posture can signify interest or disinterest (i.e., leaning forward vs leaning back) while hand gestures can illustrate excitement or frustration (i.e., fist pumping vs slamming hands onto table). Paying attention to these silent signals can provide invaluable insight into how someone is feeling during conversations which will help us effectively respond to them without having to guess what they might be thinking or feeling inside. For more specific tips on body language, check out one of the most popular posts: Body Language Hacks on my site.
#4 Communication Cue: Tone of voice
The tone of voice plays an essential role in communication since it reveals our true emotions behind words even if we’re trying to act polite on the surface level. A higher pitch usually signifies happiness while a lower pitch often carries anger or sadness along with it so being mindful of your tone when talking will help avoid misunderstandings due to differing interpretations of what was said out loud versus what was meant internally by the speaker.
#5 Communication Cue: Paralinguistic features
Paralinguistic features are things like pausing, talking louder or softer, talking slower or faster, and using different types of voice when saying words. These features can change the meaning of what you say to match your feelings. Try your best not to draw out your words (this can make you seem less intelligent) and keep your tone of voice from being shrill or high pitched at end of your sentences.
#6 Communication Cue: Use of space
The amount of physical space between two individuals when speaking communicates different messages depending on how close they stand together (or apart). Essentially our personal space extends and includes space around our bodies. How we guard and address our space is an integral part of how we relate to other people. Rocking, leg swinging, tapping, closed eyes, and hunching of the shoulders are all signals if a person’s space has been compromised. Because we are territorial with our space, you will get more cooperation from others if you seat yourself on either side of a corner of a table or side by side with another.
#7 Communication Cue: Nonverbal gestures and signals
Nonverbal communication includes facial expressions, body language, and posture. It means sending messages without words. Nonverbal communication is an important part of communication, as it can often be more telling than what is said out loud.
- Non-verbal head movement signals – Nonverbal communication can often be subtle and hard to interpret, but head movements are one of the most prominent signs. A nod of the head, for example, is a clear sign of agreement or understanding. Tilting the head to the side may show that someone is listening with interest or confusion. A shake of the head could indicate disagreement
- Non-verbal face-touching signals – Facial touching can reveal a lot about someone’s feelings and emotions. Touching the face, for example, can be a sign of stress or anxiety when covering the mouth or rubbing the eyes. Rubbing the eyes can indicate stress, fatigue, or anxiety while covering the mouth may suggest fear. Other facial touching signals can include stroking of the chin or forehead, which may indicate contemplation or deep thought. Touching the nose may mean someone is unsure about a situation or lying.
It’s also important to remember that not all face-touching signals are negative—other positive signals like tapping the nose can be indicative of playfulness and lightheartedness. Similarly, lightly stroking your cheeks may signify contentment and satisfaction with a conversation or situation.
It’s important to pay attention to these subtle movements when communicating with others in order to interpret the true feelings behind their words. For more specific face and neck body language tips, you may want to read the popular Easy Face and Neck Body Language Tips. Enjoy!